Ripening Outdoor tomatoes

Harvesting and preserving your fruit & veg

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Primrose
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Ripening Outdoor tomatoes

Postby Primrose » Sun Sep 17, 2006 4:43 pm

How are all you folks ripening your outdoor tomatoes? Are you leaving them on the vines to catch the last sunshine of this Indian summer, or are you picking them all now and letting them ripen indoors in case the nights turn too chilly?
I'm always tempted to grab the last of the sunshine to ripen them naturally, believing the favour tastes better this way, or am I deluding myself?
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Postby Chantal » Sun Sep 17, 2006 5:24 pm

I'm picking mine when they are half ripe and then putting them in a crate in the kitchen (which does catch the sun) to ripen. They are ripe within a couple of days and no risk of some strange creature nicking them from the allotment as happened with the first few. I've also found if I leave them to go really ripe and the don't get eaten, they fall to the floor and get dirty.
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Postby Garlic_Guy » Sun Sep 17, 2006 7:58 pm

I've had some Pantino (Italian Beefsteak) and Alicante outside this year. Many of them have ripened already, but I picked the last fruit down the allotment this morning, because all the plants have got signs of blight. Mind you, they've done well to produce as much as they have before succumbing.

I'll have to try something creative with the Green'Uns as I don't think many will ripen before blight takes over.

I'm sure others can advise, but if you need to bring yours inside, I think you can bring in the whole plant and hang upside down (say in a greenhouse or quiet corner of a conservatory)?
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Primrose
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Ripening tomatoes

Postby Primrose » Sun Sep 17, 2006 8:08 pm

Was interested in your comment on blight, Colin, because last year my whole tomato crop caught it while we were on holiday and we returned to a row of completely withered plants. I always thought that blight was an air borne disease which mostly happened in really wet weather but perhaps I'm wrong?

If blight is around, can you prevent your picked unripe tomatoes from catching it if you pick them and wash them before ripening indoors? I've previously picked perfect looking green tomatoes only to have them go black and rot slowly once indoors.
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Postby Allan » Sun Sep 17, 2006 9:56 pm

Bob Flowerdew reckons that if you can grow outdoor tomatoes under a cover to stop them getting wet you stand a good chance of stopping the blight. I used to grow mine outdoors, you get the best flavour that way but long ago I changed to polytunnel growing, if there is blight I am unaware of it. The other point about flavour, the nearer you get to ripening them fully on the plant the better the flavour which is one reason that homegrown taste better than supermarket ones which have to be picked before fully ripe because of the time lag before they go on sale.
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Re: Ripening tomatoes

Postby Garlic_Guy » Tue Sep 19, 2006 2:24 pm

Primrose wrote:I always thought that blight was an air borne disease which mostly happened in really wet weather but perhaps I'm wrong?


I think you're right. The cause & resulting disease is in the same family as potato blight. Being fungal, it likes both wet and warmth.

Strangley, I'd say that I got less blight here in Bristol than I have had in several previous years. We did have a very warm period in June/July which maybe affected the build up of spores??

Yes, I can definitely relate to complete rows of outdoor toms being kaiboshed by blight!

Primrose wrote:If blight is around, can you prevent your picked unripe tomatoes from catching it if you pick them and wash them before ripening indoors?


Ok, I probably over-simplified in my earlier message. My plan was to cook them a la "Fried Green Tomatoes" and thus avoid waiting for any blight already inside to ruin the fruit.

I have seem people say that they've given green toms from affected plants a quick wash in a sterilizer (like Milton or baby bottle sterilizer) before then leaving them to ripen indoors. If you want to use yours as ripe red toms, you could do worse than try this. Maybe do it on just some of your harvest and let us know if it made any difference?!
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Postby taralastair » Tue Sep 19, 2006 8:50 pm

What an intersting idea! Wish you had mentioned it earlier as I have now chucked all of my tomatoes. All had signs of blight. Before that they struggled all through august. Plants were producing good amounts of fruit, but so wet they all burst. Fortunately I had gotten them in the ground early (2nd week of May!) and they had started producing fruit in early/mid July, so not a complete waste.

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Postby Marge » Fri Sep 22, 2006 12:11 pm

Retired Father says to riped green tomatoes just pick them and place them in a paper bag with a banana. The banana gives off a gas that ripens the tomatoes.

I'm not sure if it affects the flavour though
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Postby madasafish » Fri Sep 22, 2006 1:30 pm

I believe ripe fruit - especially bananas - gives off a gas (forgotten name - old age!) which helps green tomatoes ripen.
I leave on aplate in a window with one ripe tomato under a pile of green ones: appears to work a treat....
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